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Old 12-31-2016, 06:53 PM   #1
AceBlind
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How Can Americans Practice and Learn Poker?

Hi everyone,

Long time reader, first time poster :-)

Apologies if this is a dumb question, but how are most Americans - like myself - supposed to learn and practice poker at a reasonable cost? (I thought this was a big enough question to start its own thread on, but apologies if that was wrong.)

There are tremendous free resources like this forum to help learn knowledge, but any craft requires practice. And since poker is a game of betting, that requires money.

It seems like most people here cut their teeth on microstakes online games, but since online gambling is illegal here we can't do that. We have to play live at at least a 1/2 stake. And that's assuming you live near Vegas, Atlantic City, or have an Indian casino nearby.

In my case, my nearest casino is 4 hours away. There is a local card house within 10 miles of me, however, but whenever I go there I get wrecked by those who do this every night. I'm good enough to win at 1/2 at The Venetian and Wynn when visiting Vegas - largely by simply following basic TAG - but not good enough to play the local guys here. So how am I supposed to get better and bridge the skill gap without losing hundreds of dollars day in and day out to regulars?

Weekend trips to the Indian casino?

There must be other Americans here who have experienced this conundrum.
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Old 12-31-2016, 07:16 PM   #2
TRUSTtheDRAWCESS
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Re: How Can Americans Practice and Learn Poker?

Plenty of resources available online for free. Also, if your local library can request books from other library systems, you open the possibility to read a few good poker books. I'm sure there are ways american's can play online with the right electronic tricks.
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Old 12-31-2016, 07:23 PM   #3
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Re: How Can Americans Practice and Learn Poker?

Its very hard for me to believe you can beat wynn and ven but not your local game.
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Old 12-31-2016, 07:31 PM   #4
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Re: How Can Americans Practice and Learn Poker?

The same way everyone else does - put some money online or go play live
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Old 12-31-2016, 07:36 PM   #5
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Re: How Can Americans Practice and Learn Poker?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrfunnywobbl View Post
Plenty of resources available online for free. Also, if your local library can request books from other library systems, you open the possibility to read a few good poker books. I'm sure there are ways american's can play online with the right electronic tricks.
Oh, I agree - There are plenty of resources! The 2+2 books are great. The issue is how to practice.

Briro - They aren't tourists but people who live and breath this stuff. Or maybe I'm overestimating them. But that's the sense I got from their betting, aggression, and that they all know each other. But perhaps it was a particularly bad/hard night I went. I got beaten by a higher straight, but I realize that getting beaten by a higher straight can happen anywhere.
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Old 12-31-2016, 07:57 PM   #6
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Re: How Can Americans Practice and Learn Poker?

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Originally Posted by AceBlind View Post
Oh, I agree - There are plenty of resources! The 2+2 books are great. The issue is how to practice.

Briro - They aren't tourists but people who live and breath this stuff. Or maybe I'm overestimating them. But that's the sense I got from their betting, aggression, and that they all know each other. But perhaps it was a particularly bad/hard night I went. I got beaten by a higher straight, but I realize that getting beaten by a higher straight can happen anywhere.
Dude lol..........there are about 3 Vegas pros at each table in those casinos you play. There is NO WAY, your local game is tougher. Just saying. You are giving them too much respect. Just because they are regs doesnt mean they are good.
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Old 12-31-2016, 08:01 PM   #7
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Re: How Can Americans Practice and Learn Poker?

Play online. Playing online in the US is not illegal. It's just that the more popular sites don't support US players and it is not super simple to deposit on the ones that do.
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Old 12-31-2016, 08:21 PM   #8
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Re: How Can Americans Practice and Learn Poker?

Play online, obviously. Not sure if this is a serious thread.
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Old 01-01-2017, 01:24 AM   #9
Dream Crusher
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Re: How Can Americans Practice and Learn Poker?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Briro2017 View Post
Dude lol..........there are about 3 Vegas pros at each table in those casinos you play. There is NO WAY, your local game is tougher. Just saying. You are giving them too much respect. Just because they are regs doesnt mean they are good.
You should probably take your own advice in regards to giving them too much respect. LMAO @ the idea that Wynn 1/3 games average 3 pros per table.
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Old 01-01-2017, 04:24 AM   #10
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Re: How Can Americans Practice and Learn Poker?

Read books. Read this forum. Play online. Play live when you can.
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Old 01-01-2017, 12:21 PM   #11
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Re: How Can Americans Practice and Learn Poker?

What state are you in? Are you sure its illegal to play online? Or is it just not regulated?
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Old 01-01-2017, 02:53 PM   #12
AceBlind
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Re: How Can Americans Practice and Learn Poker?

Thanks for the responses. Apologies for being an idiot. And I'm in Texas.

I thought since PokerStars, etc, left that it was illegal in the US. But I guess not. Any online site in the US you guys particularly recommend?

Also, I recall hearing (?) about online players using computer software to automatically track players past bets, make suggested moves, etc. I don't want to get into a computer arms race and my eventual goal is to be able to play higher stakes live (5/10). Are there sites allowed in the US don't allow that kind of software?

Decided to make the long trek to my Indian casino today and check it out. Fortunately I don't have work tomorrow.

Thanks!

Last edited by AceBlind; 01-01-2017 at 03:07 PM.
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Old 01-01-2017, 03:12 PM   #13
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Re: How Can Americans Practice and Learn Poker?

Check out Ignition, Americas card room, bet online. You can probably find more by searching around.

For tracking look into Hold'em Manager, Poker Tracker, and free poker database.

Good luck at the casino.
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Old 01-01-2017, 03:38 PM   #14
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Re: How Can Americans Practice and Learn Poker?

I understand your situation because I have some of the same problems. I can play online but the nearest poker room that deals tournaments is 100 miles away and my wife and I share one car.

I live in Michigan. Here are some of the things that things that I do. Some might not apply to your situation.

My state has licensed charity poker rooms. There was a room three miles away from me that I didn't know about it until I had been playing online for two years. It was in one of the local bowling alleys. Now I have one charity room about six miles away and four more within 40 miles.

Check the expenses of whatever you plan to do. I have not yet played in the casino. I decided to check what the rake was, so I compared a $50 tournament at the casino to $50 tournament in my charity room. The rake was the same.

So, I can play in my local room or I can drive 100 miles to the casino. I can pay for expensive food and drink in a casino or I can get a $2 pop (and a free refill) and a $5 sandwich in the bowling alley. The math on that is obvious.

Online poker is not illegal in your state unless the law says so. As far as I know, the only state where playing poker online is illegal is Washington. Online poker is explicitly legal in Washington, DC and in New Jersey.

A lot of charities and organizations have casino nights where poker is part of the deal, so watch for that. Most of the people playing at an event like that aren't poker regulars so it should be a soft game.

Do some Google and Facebook searches. I am active in the West Michigan Poker Facebook group and in the West Michigan poker 2+2 regional subfourms. You might find some places that you didn't know about, including home games, but make sure that you're careful about that. In some states, raked home games are illegal, but home games which are not run for profit are fine. I would check the law in your state on that.

Regarding where to play online, I play on Americas Cardroom and I don't know a lot about the other sites, except that you should avoid the sites that have a high minimum withdrawal or charge a high fee for making a withdrawal. I once deposited $50 on a site and later found out that the minimum withdrawal was $500. On ACR the minimum withdrawal (snail mail check) is $100, one check each month with no fee. There are other withdrawal methods but they come with fees. Make sure that you understand how withdrawals work and what the fees are before you put money on a site.

On ACR (and I assume on other sites) you can play at very low limits. They have freerolls and other tournaments that cost less than $1. A week ago I played an 11 cent tournament with around 1,000 players and final-tabled it for $18. That broke my previous ROI record for one tournament, when I final-tabled a $3.30 on PokerStars and cashed for $384.

Last edited by Poker Clif; 01-01-2017 at 03:41 PM. Reason: Edited for rudundance. No significant content change.
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Old 01-01-2017, 07:30 PM   #15
Dream Crusher
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Re: How Can Americans Practice and Learn Poker?

There are a decent # of people that make that weekend 4 hour trip to the casino. It's not something I would do but it's certainly something to consider. Honestly, there should be some soft (illegally run) games locally. The biggest problem with those is the high rake.
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Old 01-01-2017, 08:05 PM   #16
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Re: How Can Americans Practice and Learn Poker?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dream Crusher View Post
You should probably take your own advice in regards to giving them too much respect. LMAO @ the idea that Wynn 1/3 games average 3 pros per table.
Obviously you don't have a clue living in Dallas while I live in Vegas.
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Old 01-01-2017, 08:11 PM   #17
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Re: How Can Americans Practice and Learn Poker?

I used to fly into Vegas multiple times a month and play Monday thru Friday. My closest friend in Vegas put in more hours at that Wynn 1/3 game than anyone over a 2 year period. I have other friends that play 2/5 there for a living. I am friends with dealers as well. Nice try though.

Most of the players you think are professionals, are not professionals. I assure you of that.
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